ZAGREB, December 8, 2018 – Former Croatian President Stjepan Mesić said on Friday he supported the position of three former international high representatives to Bosnia and Herzegovina who had accused Zagreb of meddling in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s internal affairs and misinforming the Croatian and international public about the situation in that country. “I support the view which Messrs Christian Schwarz-Schilling, Carl Bildt and Paddy Ashdown presented” in a letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, former president Mesić said in a statement.
The three former top international officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina wrote that Croatia was interfering in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s internal affairs and that its contesting the election of Željko Komšić as the Croat member of the country’s tripartite presidency was unacceptable.
Mesić said he had received a copy of the letter and that the Croatian government “should take it very seriously.”
“It is a fact that developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina are deliberately misrepresented to the Croatian and world public, that the laws of the neighbouring state are misinterpreted, and what worries me the most as the former president of Croatia, Croatia’s care for the Croats who live in this neighbouring and friendly country is reduced to the interests of one party, namely the HDZ. That is unacceptable and harmful for the Croats who are a constituent people in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Mesić said.
Mesić, who had served two terms as president of Croatia from 2000 to 2010, noted that Željko Komšić, a pro-Bosniak politician of Croatian origins, had been elected in accordance with the law that was in force when HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović had twice been elected the Croat member of the state presidency.
Mesić did not say that Croatian officials in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina were not contesting the legality, but the legitimacy of Komšić’s election. Komšić was predominantly elected by Bosniaks, although he is supposed to represent the Croats on the presidency. Komšić has said that he represents citizens and not an ethnic group, and Croat-majority municipalities and cantons in Bosnia and Herzegovina have declared him persona non grata.
Mesić said that the Croatian government was calling into question “the credibility of Croatia as a factor of stability in southeast Europe” and was “directly harming the perception of Croatia as a serious and reliable member of the European Union.”
He concluded by saying that Croatia must “clearly and unequivocally” support Komšić as a presidency member and “stop all activities aimed at contesting the legitimacy of his election.”
For more on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, click here.